A look back into the Halo series

Halo: Reach will land on the shelves in just a few days. The Halo series has been around for 9 years and to get ready for the release of Halo: Reach, and Bungie’s final Halo title, let us look back to see what the Halo series has brought so far.

The series first began with Halo: Combat Evolved. Released in late 2001 this game helped put the Xbox on the map by creating a first person shooter with the emphasis of shooter. You take on the role of Spartan 117, better known as Master Chief and would go from level to level to shoot aliens better known as The Covenant.

The Covenant aliens you would encounter in the game wouldn’t be generic enemies all round with just a different look. No, each alien had their own unique fighting style and personality. From the small funny wise-cracking Grunts, to the Elites who, like Master Chief had shields. Let’s not forget the plasma shield wielding Jackals, to the big scary Hunters that would take 3-5 clips of your Assault Rifle to take down as well as having a deadly cannon that can kill you in one or two hits.

Halo: Combat Evolved also had a killer multiplayer experience where buddies would gather at a friend’s house and play Halo all night long. Halo had many different kinds of multiplayer options such as Slayer and Team Slayer; Capture the Flag, Oddball, Juggernaut, King of the Hill, and Assault. But really when you play Halo with only you and three other people you just want to kill each other and see who the best is.

Halo: Combat Evolved wasn’t just a get together with your buddies on the weekend, it was also the spring board of the Red vs. Blue series filmed and produced by Rooster Teeth. Using capture card technology, the boys and girls over at Rooster Teeth, made a comedy/dramatic machinima series that took place on one of the multiplayer maps on Halo: Combat Evolved. The series is about the Red army led by Sarge, and the Blue Army led by Church. Both of these armies established a base in Blood Gulch and both of these armies are trying to get the other out so they can move forward in the war. Needless to say this series is actually a hit and is currently on its 8th season. They are even the creators of a multiplayer game type later featured in Halo 3 known as Grifball.

Now with Halo: Combat Evolved being a big hit bringing friends together on the weekends with its great multiplayer and campaign experience. Halo 2 would be released three years later in late 2004. Halo 2 brought a new twist in the campaign, not only would you play as Master Chief, but you would also play as The Arbiter, the chosen champion of the Covenant. The game also took the Xbox graphics engine to its max and was visually impressive, however that was not the only accomplishment Halo 2 made.

Halo 2 not only brought back the great multiplayer made famous by Combat Evolved, it also massively helped Xbox Live get to the glory it is at today. Featuring up to 16 players on multiplayer, Halo 2 was the leading flagship of not only Xbox but the online community as well. With players from all over the world dishing it out on Halo 2, with their Spartan or Elite avatars, Halo fans would then duke it out online to see who the better Halo player was. The game also featured a clan system to allow players stay in touch with friends and take on other clans to see who the best was.

The year 2007 approached and it was time to Finish the Fight with Halo 3. This brought the Halo trilogy to close with Master Chief and the Arbiter teaming up to stop the Covenant from destroying Earth. The visual displays of the game were truly amazing on the Xbox 360, especially when the second teaser was released showing what was shown on the teaser was actual in-game graphics.

The campaign and multiplayer allowed the use of in game tools such as the Health Regenerator, Bubble Shield, Radar Jammer, and many others. This gave the game more strategy both in the campaign and on multiplayer and they proved useful in a pinch, but also rather annoying if you were that close to killing the guy that just threw the Bubble Shield to save himself. However, tools were not the only feature that made Halo 3 famous. Halo 3 also had two new modes, Forge and Theater.

Forge mode allowed players to take the Halo 3 multiplayer maps and alter them by cutting off areas, adding new respawn points, new weapons, challenging obstacles, or even make a race track. Forge mode had endless possibilities with how you can make these multiplayer maps more fun for you and your friends.

Theater mode allowed players to relive glorious moment in multiplayer by watching previous matches and saving the films. This mode also allowed players to take full films and make small clips showing off a great triumph or an epic fail. It also allowed players to take in-game photos.

Two years after the release of Halo 3 came Halo Wars, made by Ensemble Studios. Unlike previous Halo games, Halo Wars was not a first person shooter, but instead a Real Time Strategy title. The game takes place 20 years before the Halo trilogy as players took on the role of Sergeant Forge and led his army of marines to stop the Covenant Army. The game was a very watered down RTS and although being on a console this game still received much praise from critics and the Halo community.

Six months after the release of Halo Wars, Bungie returned with a new Halo title, Halo 3: ODST. Originally planned as a downloadable campaign, Bungie had more plans with this title and decided to make it as a standalone game, rather than a downloadable expansion. The game followed a squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers or ODST for short. This was also the first Halo that allowed players to play as an actual human, instead of the super enhanced human, Master Chief. Although the campaign was relatively short, the free roam elements around New Mombasa were a nice feel as you traveled the city.

However, the campaign was not the only thing that boosted ODSTs popularity. A new multiplayer mode known as Firefight came into the Halo scene. This mode allowed players to team up with their buddies and fight off hordes of Covenant troops for as long as they can. The more waves they survived the tougher the enemies would be.

More than these games the Halo series have also spawned a comic book series that is published by Marvel, and a book series. Halo was also the first game to be featured as Game Fuel, a Mountain Dew beverage that strangely tasted like gummy bears. Let’s not forget Halo Legends, an anime that was a straight to DVD release.  Halo Wars also got their fair share of extras with a Mega Bloks line as well their own board game, Risk: Halo Wars.

These past 9 years have been great, especially the impact Halo has made within the gaming community and the multiplayer community as well as making the Xbox a powerhouse system to be recognized. Halo: Reach is sure to continue the tradition that previous Halo games have already brought, and with this being Bungie’s last Halo title, this is sure to go out with a bang.